A Longtime and Innovative Transportation Pioneer Passes Away

October 9, 1935

Harvey A. Moyer, a prolific transportation entrepreneur who manufactured both horse-drawn carriages and luxury automobiles, died in Syracuse, New York, at the age of 62. Moyer, who had been born in the New York town of Clay in 1853, demonstrated a strong interest in creating vehicles relatively early on in life. When Moyer was only 13, he set up a carriage shop in his father’s orchard. It was there that he built his first carriage. It cost Clay four dollars to produce this carriage, and he sold it to an uncle for 10 times that amount.

Moyer eventually moved to Cicero, New York. With only 20 dollars in his pocket, he established the H.A. Moyer Carriage Company in that town in 1876. Moyer moved his company’s factory and equipment to Syracuse four years later. He gained international renown for the high quality of his company’s carriages, with a large number of those vehicles shipped overseas to Europe and South America. By 1907, the company was manufacturing more than 200 styles of carriages.

Moyer, leveraging both the considerable profits and sterling reputation he acquired from his longtime carriage-making efforts, expanded his company’s scope to include the production of automobiles starting in 1908. The enterprise was eventually renamed the H.A. Moyer Automobile Company.

The company’s motorized vehicles were likewise widely praised for the meticulous craftsmanship that went into making them. The Massachusetts-based Lowell Sun newspaper noted that an automobile “manufactured by H.A. Moyer, the celebrated carriage builder, is the result of 35 years of experience in the manufacture of high grade vehicles for pleasure use and combines all of the valuable features of that experience as to fine qualities, thorough proportion, elegant finish and design, together with thorough attention to every detail of construction.”

The company, which was headquartered at Wolf and Park Streets in Syracuse, built approximately 100 automobiles per year. By 1912, the H.A. Moyer Automobile Company’s prestigious models included six-cylinder, four-door touring cars. Moyer also played a pioneering role when it came to the uses of the “horseless carriage.” He developed one of the earliest automobile hearses, for example, and also provided the Syracuse police department with its first motorized morgue wagon.

In addition, Moyer proved to have a great deal of marketing savvy when it came to promoting his company’s products far and wide. He participated extensively in automobile shows to highlight his latest motorized offerings. He also put his quick wit and penchant for catchy phrases to effective use by coming up with the advertisement slogan “All roads are level to a Moyer.”

Ultimately, however, Moyer encountered major financial setbacks by not updating his company’s automobile manufacturing practices from a customized approach to operations that relied instead on mass production. His company went out of business in 1915, and Moyer subsequently worked as a dealer for the Velie Motor Vehicle Company and fellow automobile manufacturer F.B. Stearns Company.

For more information on Henry A. Moyer and his contributions to transportation, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._A._Moyer_(automobile)

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